Resourcing a research culture: the roles of the library and the research assistant at Whitireia Community Polytechnic

Author: Parker, Ailsa

Date: 2010-01-08

Publisher: Whitireia Community Polytechnic

Type: Conference item

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In 1994 the New Zealand Qualifications Authority granted Whitireia Community Polytechnic approval for a nursing degree and in the year 2000, the School of Computing introduced a Bachelor of Information Technology. The granting of these degrees, with their research component, has meant that a research culture has had to be developed. Characteristics of productive research environments have been identified as including resources, particularly human resources. Since staff teaching on a degree programmes have to be actively engaged in research, there is increasing pressure to teach as well as research. As with many tertiary institutions, this demand often puts staff in an unbalanced situation, unable to find the time for research given a sometimes heavy teaching load. The institution has reacted to this pressure and new patterns of support are emerging. A case study approach, using organisational role theory, is used to examine Whitireia Community Polytechnic's strategies of resourcing research and researchers. Documentary sources such as reports and policy documents and participant-observations are used to analyse the roles of the research assistant and of library services. The primary function of these supporting roles is to be of practical and academic assistance and to ensure that the staff are properly channeled through the necessary research processes and networks that could help them. The efficacy of these roles at Whitireia Community Polytechnic is discussed in terms of research literature and role theory. Both roles, in different ways, were found to be contributing to a productive research environment. Suggestions are made for future research.

Subjects: research culture, library, case study, 16 - Studies in Human Society

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